Translated Judgment #7

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

First Corinthians chapter 14 outlines the six rules that regulated the gift of tongues (which gift the Corinthians were abusing). When the Holy Spirit was involved, these six principles were always in place. Any deviation, even slightly, meant that the experience was artificial and satanic. Someone was striving in his or her flesh to mimic or counterfeit God’s work.

Primarily, tongues served as a sign to the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Secondly, twoor maximum, three—individuals were to speak in tongues during one meeting (verse 27). Thirdly, the speakers had to take turns, and not talk over each other (verse 27). Fourthly, the tongue had to be translated or the speaker was to remain silent (verses 27,28). Fifthly, only men spoke in tongues (verses 34,35). Lastly, there was to be decency, order, self-control (verse 40). These six rules describe the only type of speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit has ever (!) endorsed!

It was particularly important that tongues be translated. This interpretation allowed unsaved Jews to not only hear a foreign language (recognizing God’s judgment on their nation), but also learn God’s Word in their own native tongue (whatever it happened to be). An intelligible message, as opposed to gibberish, afforded them an opportunity to be convicted of their sin and converted to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Now that that Acts transitional period is over, God dealing with Israel has passed, so the spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Corinthians 8:8-13). We have a completed Bible, total revelation from God, and thus temporary spiritual gifts and fragmentary revelation are unnecessary (2 Timothy 3:16,17; cf. Colossians 1:25-27).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?” and Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

Translated Judgment #6

Friday, September 21, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Here are two simple Bible verses that will revolutionize the way you view God’s Word. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Signs are Israel’s national heritage (see Psalm 74:9). When we come to today’s Scripture, we thus see that one of these “signs” is the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not….” The unbelievers during the Acts period were the nation Israel (Acts 9:23,24; Acts 13:45-48; Acts 17:5,13; Acts 18:6,12; et cetera).

In Isaiah’s day, Israel hearing foreign languages meant that her LORD God’s judgment had fallen on her for her unbelief and disobedience. Similarly, Israel hearing the gift of tongues working amongst Paul’s Gentile converts signified to Israel that her God was now operating in the world without her. It was a drastic change in program. God had taken the spiritual gifts—what had belonged to Israel—and given them over to the Gentiles. The gift of tongues operated amongst Paul’s Gentile converts so as to provoke to salvation in Christ the unsaved Jews scattered around the world.

The gift of tongues was not meant to be entertainment (as the Corinthians were using it—see 1 Corinthians chapter 14), but rather a clear testimony to Israel. It was important that the Corinthians correct their abuses of this most special spiritual gift. Today’s Body of Christ would do well to take heed to these verses, and address and fix their misunderstandings and misuses of spiritual gifts….

Bible Q&A #535: “Who are the ‘Grecians’ in the Bible?

No Good Deeds, No Good Things #3

Friday, July 20, 2018

Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you (Jeremiah 5:25 KJV).

Here is the result of being under any performance-based acceptance system!

Fast-forward over 400 years after Abraham. His seed through Isaac—the nation Israel—is in bondage to Egypt. Israel is helpless: she cannot rescue herself, and must depend on God’s power to deliver her with mighty signs and wonders (Exodus chapters 1-13). The culmination is God’s parting of the Red Sea to allow Israel to escape Pharaoh and his army (chapter 14). In chapters 15 through 18, God graciously blesses Israel with His provisions. He has done so much to make them His people. Will they rest in this grace?

Notice Exodus chapter 19: “[3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I [God] did unto the Egyptians, and how I [God] bare you on eagles’ wings, and [I God] brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

How tragic! They have not learned the lesson that their father Abraham had centuries earlier. Instead of letting God work to fulfill His promises (namely, the Abrahamic Covenant—He will work to make them His people), their sin nature has deceived them into thinking they can perform to get the blessing. They believe they can make themselves God’s nation. Grace has been tossed aside, and thus begins the strict, cruel reign of the Law! Sinful Israel is doomed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

Spiritual!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to be spiritual!

What does it mean to be “spiritual?” If you asked 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. We need not wonder as to the correct response. God’s Spirit, the Author of today’s Scripture, led the Apostle Paul to identify the standard for true spirituality in this the Dispensation of Grace. Rather than conditioned upon giving, praying, hand raising, performing miracles, singing, dancing, and speaking in tongues, spirituality is all about whether we listen to God’s spokesman to us Gentiles. “Spiritual” means that the Holy Spirit is leading you. The Holy Ghost wants you to know that His apostle of us Gentiles is Paul (Romans 11:13; cf. Acts 26:14-18). Do you believe that… or not (1 Corinthians 14:38)?

If someone is a “prophet”—speaking on God’s behalf—then he will acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking in and through the Apostle Paul. If someone is “spiritual”—controlled by God’s Spirit—then he will acknowledge that Paul is God’s spokesman to us in the Dispensation of Grace. Ephesians 3:1-5: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;….”

First Corinthians 3:1-3 speaks of three categories of Christians. Firstly, there are the numerous “babes,” those who can handle only Bible basics, spiritual milk instead of solid food (remember Hebrews 5:11-14?). Secondly, we have the countless “carnal” Christians, those constantly driven by the flesh’s sinful desires. Lastly, there are the “spiritual” believers, the few who are able to delve into deep Bible truths. Beloved, are we interested in doing God’s will? Do we want to be “spiritual?” Then, we had better believe today’s Scripture!

Superstitious!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:14,15 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to guard against superstition.

When tragedy strikes, people plead for God to stop it. They pray for the criminal’s apprehension, a miraculous recovery from an illness or mortal injury, floodwaters to recede, earthquakes to cease, poverty and war to disappear. When these things continue, it is supposed that God does not love them, was not listening, or could not care less. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Dear friends, what masquerades as “Christianity” is usually nothing but vain superstition. Most church members have not a clue as to what God is doing today—not a clue! How skilled they are in what God did in time past—miracles, signs, wonders, Sabbath days, water baptism, tithing, et cetera. They are naïve as to what He is doing in the but now. Dispensational Bible study is completely foreign to them; hence, they cannot find where they fit in God’s timeline for the ages. They are totally unable to locate their information in Scripture. They just grab whatever verses fit their agenda/denomination; context means nothing.

The most inconspicuous place for superstition in a Christian’s life is prayer. Doubtless, superstition abounds in most prayer lives. Church members are asking or demanding God do things He is not doing today. He has already declared in His Word to us, the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon, what He is doing today. However, they go to the rest of Scripture—what God did long ago and what He will do yet future—and try to make Him do that now. We cannot make God do something He is not doing. Just because the Bible says it, that does not mean that it is God’s Word to us. Do we build a boat as Genesis chapter 6 says? Do we bring a trespass offering for touching an unclean animal as Leviticus chapter 5 commands? See, stop grabbing things haphazardly from the Bible and start respecting contexts.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

Spirituality or Futility? #7

Thursday, November 9, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

Dear friend, a sure way to engage in futility is to reach back into previous dispensations and/or reach forward into future dispensations, and force those verses on us today. To use Bible verses God once applied before our dispensation, or to follow Scriptures God will apply after our dispensation, is to fall prey to Satan’s “wiles” or deceitful strategies (Ephesians 6:11). If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, such Bible mishandling frustrates or hinders God’s plans for your Christian life! If you have not trusted Christ, such Bible misusage hides from you God’s current Gospel message! Christians remain confused and defeated; lost people stay unsaved and Hell-bound!

Satan would never discourage us from quoting Bible verses because he did it in Matthew 4:6. Yea, he used Scripture… but did not handle it dispensationally. As long as God’s Word is not “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), it furthers Satan’s agenda most ingeniously (without suspicion!). “We are in God’s will because we are Scriptural. Satan cannot deceive us.” Of course, to not use the Scriptures God’s way is to, by default, achieve Satan’s goal!

God is not currently forming an earthly people—the nation Israel. There is no water baptism and no tithing (mandatory giving) today. God is not telling us to confess our sins, follow the Mosaic Law, keep the Sabbath, offer blood sacrifices for our sins, sell everything we have and give to the poor, drink poison, heal the sick, raise the dead, look for “signs,” build an ark, and so on. God told other people in other dispensations to pursue and do those things, but He did not tell the Apostle Paul to instruct us concerning them. What futility to try to make God do something He is not doing today! If we will know what He is doing today, and will do His will today, we heed the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

Spirituality or Futility? #3

Sunday, November 5, 2017

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37,38 KJV).

Here, we see two alternatives—spirituality and futility. Our choice?

What is true spirituality? To wit, what is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in the believer’s life in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God? Some claim it is “praying in tongues” and miracle-working; others argue law-keeping and diligent church attendance.

Today’s Scripture is quite clear that spirituality depends on one’s authority. Recognizing this truth, a wise Christian leader stated long ago: “The test of true spirituality today, the test of a man’s theology today, is whether or not he submits to the Apostle Paul’s authority and instructions.”

Perhaps you are raising the frequent objection: “Paul was just a man; I follow Jesus!” My precious friend, did you really pay attention to the verse? “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” According to the Holy Spirit, the Author of the Bible, Paul speaks to us Gentiles on the Lord Jesus Christ’s behalf. Paul is not issuing his own subjective opinions or fallible suggestions. He is writing the commandments Jesus Christ gave him to give to us. Therefore, to reject Paul is to snub Christ’s present-day heavenly ministry!

The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 13:20: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.” Acts 9:15 reports: “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:….” If the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ sent Paul to us—and He did—then we had better heed those Pauline directions, Romans through Philemon. Failure to do so is to fight against what God is doing today. This explains the source of the professing church’s modern dilemma….

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